Mothering and Life in General
The Ultimate Scare
*** This may be a trigger to those who have been through sexual abuse ***
There are so many things that you learn you are not ready for when you become a parent. You question yourself while you are pregnant, how will you be? Will you be able to care for this child and will you be an asset to this new life? Then again, once you have your child in your arms. There were so many things that I was sure I achieved greatness along my journey with enough knowledge that I am still far from being the perfect parent. Until early this morning, when I felt like nothing more than what is underneath a shoe.
At 2am, I was ready to lay in our bed. I was just finishing up with some reading, my eyes were heavy when I heard K2 cries. She has not cried like that in about a year. I thought maybe I was hearing another child, so I listened for a few seconds. Then I heard “MOMMY!”, I hardly made it out of my chair and I was in full sprint down the hall. Even at almost 4, she only cries as long as it takes me to get to her.
She is sitting in her bed in tears, whimpering, when she sees me she lets it all out. I ask her what is wrong and that is when the words a mother never wants to hear comes out, “I can’t tell you, because I will get into trouble”. My heart stops, never in my life would I think my child would be saying the same words I told my mother so long ago. I was in shock, for the first time, nothing came to my mind, no logic, no rope, no hope. I was sick, my stomach was tight, and I can’t breathe.
I held her, I asked her questions, like “What do you mean, you will get into trouble?”, “Mommy wants to help, can you tell me what is wrong?”, “Who told you, you can’t tell Mommy?”. All she returned with was, “I don’t know”. I was bordering on hysteria. I noticed my eyes were watering, I needed to settle myself to be able to be good for her. I did not want to scare her, I want her to know she can talk to me about anything and at any time. I asked her if she wanted a freezie and I allowed her watch some TV, while I quietly went on the balcony.
As controlled I could ever be, I called DH (who was out with a friend playing darts). I asked him if he’s ever left K2 with anyone alone while he went out with her. Of course he said he never did, so I told him what happened. He shrugged it off as a bad dream, and for a quick moment I thought so too. I was able to take in some air, but deep inside there was dread. DH does not understand the fuss or the bother. In some ways I am grateful, because he does not have the deep fears that I do.
I turned to look at K2 on the bean bag chair watching TV. My heart was a lump in my throat. I still was not calm enough to talk to her without tearing up, or suggesting this conversation we would have is wrong. Who on the small list of people have I wrongfully mistrusted? Then I felt guilt for even thinking that. Was it wrong to think that? Was I taking things way too far? I thought I worked through my past abuses enough to deal with this the proper way. With every minute I waited to settle, was that every minute I was failing her?
I called a friend to see about how to go around speaking to her about this. If she would take things the same way. She was not touched by a dirty hand, so if she took it the same way as I did, then would that make me normal? We talked about what happened, and I allowed myself to quietly get upset. I spoke about what happened in my past, and why I fear of doing things wrong. I don’t want to make the matter worse, but it’s K2’s answer of “I don’t know” to questions previously asked that bothers me.
After calming down, I came in from the cold, K2 asked to nurse. I thought this would be the time where I would have her attention, and the one place she would feel my comforting arms. I turned off the television, and I told her that Mommy has something very important to say. As I sat on our chair with her on my lap, I asked her if she remembered what she said when she woke up. She nodded with a look of awaiting trouble. As calmly as I could, I spoke to her that she would not get into trouble and I will not be mad. That it’s important to tell me what she meant by “I can’t tell you, because I will get into trouble”.
She told me she had a dream that a boy I look after pushed her, and she got really hurt. She told me because it did not happen, dreams are not real, that telling me would be a lie. Telling lies gets you into trouble. As relieved I was with her words, it was her body language that allowed me to believe this was what happened. I had to explain that talking about dreams are ok and is not lying, and that I was happy that she understands the difference between what dreams are and what real-life is. As I hugged her tight and kissed her forehead, I thought maybe I jumped in deep with conclusions. I kicked myself, and asked will I ever be a normal mother?
I took this opportunely to explain good touches, bad touches, good secrets and bad. I was impressed how quickly she received the information, but still felt like I had failed her some way. I know she felt my over reaction, I know she felt my dread.
I was up very early and I could not sleep, going over ever aspect of ‘last night’. I still tear up thinking about it. Yes, I believed her, when people did not believe me. Yes, I took it seriously, but did I handle it the way I should have? Did I put fear into her where none should be? Did I cross the line? It’s hard to teach these things when you come from the position of being touched. You know what the dirties do, you see what they want and will freely take. You know what they say, and how they think. Trying to put clear and concise information together to an almost 4-year old is not a simple task.
Do you tell them only Mommies and Daddies can wipe their bums, yet what do you tell them when you have to leave them with a Provider? Do you tell them that no one sees them naked, leaving room for them to believe their bodies are bad? How do you tell them that not every hug is good and not ever touch is bad? Do they know about what is comfortable or is that something that is taught? Sometimes being ‘touched’ can have it’s silver lining, you know things others do not. Most times being ‘touched’ leaves you enable to handle things well, and second guessing every action you take. I hope with all my heart our daughter never understands my feelings.